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Psychology and Counseling Library Research Guide: Searching Tips

This is a tutorial for psychology and counseling research in the library.

Overview

Helpful tips for searching library databases.

Tips for Searching Databases

1. Consider various keywords for your topic.

2. Join ALL the keywords with AND

3. UNLESS keywords are synonyms, then use OR.

4. Search for a phrase using NO connectors; just type it in. Some databases require phrases to be in quotation marks.

6. If you retrieve too many items:
a. Use another appropriate keyword and join it with AND.
b. Use publication years to narrow.

7. If you retrieve too few items:
a. Check your spelling.
b. Use fewer keywords.
c. If you using a phrase, use AND to connect keywords instead.
d. Try using different keywords.

Examples

1. Use AND if you want to find ALL the keywords in the retrieved items.  Using AND reduces the number of items you will retrieve.

airports and security


2. Use OR if you want to find ANY of the keywords in the retrieved items. Using OR increases the number of items you will retrieve.

aviation or airlines or airports


3. Use no connectors if you want to find a phrase (all the words in a specific order).  Some databases require phrases to be in quotation marks.

American Psychological Association
"American Psychological Association"

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Margaret Sylvia
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Assistant Director for Technical Services

St. Mary's University Blume Library

One Camino Santa Maria

San Antonio, TX 78228-8608

210-436-3441 ext. 1320

210-431-2299 ext. 1320

fax: 210-436-3782
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